NEW YORK (Sep. 3)
President Truman today expressed his sorrow over the death of Abraham Cahan, retired editor of the Jewish Daily Forward, who died Friday evening in Beth Israel Hospital, at the age of 91.
In a message addressed to Alexander Kahn, general manager of the Forward, Mr. Truman emphasized Mr. Cahan’s services "as teacher and guide to generations of Jewish immigrants" and said that his death will be mourned by all citizens in the country who saw in him the personification of true Americanism. The President will be represented at the funeral by Secretary of Labor Maurice Tobin.
The funeral, which is scheduled to take place on Wednesday afternoon and to start from the Jewish Daily Forward building, will be attended by representatives of the New York City Government, Israel Government, Jewish Agency, numerous labor unions and all major Jewish organizations. Messages of condolence have been pouring into the offices of the Jewish Daily Forward from all parts of the world. (At a meeting of the newly-elected executive of the World Zionist Organization, held in Jerusalem, Berl Locker eulogized the late Forward editor.
The New York Times and the Herald Tribune carry editorials depicting Mr. Cahan’s role in Jewish life. The Herald Tribune points out that much of the amelioration of working conditions in the needle trades and other industries was due to Cahan’s work and writings. "Today thousands of people live better because Abraham Cahan lived," the editorial says. The New York Times emphasizes that Cahan’s main aim was to serve the masses.
Mr. Cahan, who built the Jewish Daily Forward into one of the most powerful foreign language newspapers in the United States, was also well known for his novels. Born in Vilna in 1860, he arrived in the United States at the age of 22 with two dollars in his pocket. In the first three months he learned enough English to begin giving lessons to other immigrants. Later he joined the editorial staff of "The Commercial Advertiser" and wrote short stories for various English magazines. In 1917 came his best-known book "The Rise of David Levinsky."
Mr. Cahan was one of the founders of the Jewish Daily Forward, which started publication in 1897. He edited the newspaper for a short time and left it to work in the English press. However, in 1907 he was invited to resume editorship of the Forward which at that time had a circulation of 6,000. He agreed to return, provided he would receive a free hand. It did not take him long to increase the circulation of the newspaper to more than 200,000.